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First Liberty Briefing

First Liberty Briefing is an exclusive podcast hosted by First Liberty Institute’s Deputy General Counsel Jeremy Dys. In about 90-seconds, once a week, Jeremy recalls the stories that have shaped America’s religious liberty, from the founding era to current legal battles and more. It’s an insider’s look at the stories, cases, people, and laws that have made America the world’s leader in protecting religious liberty.
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Apr 20, 2018

A Nebraska law banning teachers from wearing religious garb in public schools is forcing people like Sister Madeline Miller to violate their religious beliefs. Learn more at FirstLiberty.org/Briefing.


Sister Madeline Miller is a 37-year old teacher. She’s also a nun who dons a habit wherever she goes, and that includes work.

But, when she applied for a job in a Nebraska public school, she was told she would have to lose the habit.  Evidently there is a Nebraska law that prevents teachers from wearing any sort of religious garb at work.  That means that, despite her credentials, Sister Madeline could not work in the Nebraska public schools.  You see, the church teaches that she is to wear her habit at all times, except when cleaning with harsh chemicals that could damage the blessed garments or when ministering in a communist country.

Does that mean Nebraska is worse than harsh chemicals or communist countries?  Probably not, but one Nebraska lawmaker is working to repeal the antiquated and vague law. If it is not repealed, nuns could be defrocked of their habits, Jewish teachers may have to remove their yarmulkes, Catholic teachers would need to leave their rosary at home, and Mennonite teachers could not wear their plan cap.

I suspect the Nebraska legislature will have little trouble removing this law from the books.  But, we should learn a lesson from Sister Miller’s experience: in a free society, we ought to welcome the appearance of religious garb, rather than ban them from our sight.

To learn how First Liberty is protecting religious liberty for all Americans, visit FirstLiberty.org.

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